Sunday, 17 October 2010

A guide to sledging

Fantasy Bob is no great fan of the practice of sledging - the aggressive and insulting comment from the fielding side designed to unsettle the batter.  This regretable practice is common even in the lower leagues that FB, by virtue of the perverse views of the selectors, is forced to inhabit.  He is thick skinned enough to have laughed off any number of jibes during his own innings.   Suggestions that his delicately directed late cut over the heads of the slip cordon was a lucky thick edge are water off a duck's back, particuarly when the four runs go up on the board.  The protestation from the wicket keeper, after FB has left an away swinger in text book fashion, that he did not realise that Gray Nicholls made fishing rods similarly has no impact on FB's legendary concentration.

But sledges such as these are of little consequence compared to some of the reported banter that goes on in the higher levels of the game.   The most celebrated sledge has several versions, which makes FB think it might be apocryphal.  There is a version involving Shane Warne but FB understands that the alleged authentic version involves the great Glen McGrath when he was bowling to Zimbabwe number 11 Eddo Brandes.  Brandes missed  ball after ball. McGrath, frustrated, could stand it no more, went up to him and inquired “Why are you so fat?” Brandes replied, “Because every time I make love to your wife, she gives me a biscuit.”

Top players seem to be figure conscious to judge from this other celebrated sledge - Shane Warne is the but of this sledge from SA's  Daryll Cullinan.  As Cullinan made his way to the wicket, Warne told him he had been waiting 2 years for another chance to humiliate him. "Looks like you spent it eating," Cullinan retorted.

But Fantasy Bob's favourite sledge of all time comes from more tranquil and gentlemanly Bodyline tour.  Douglas Jardine, the MCC skipper on that tour, was by all accounts a prickly character but, like FB himself, evidently a man of principle and high standards.  When he heard an inappropriate remark while at the crease he did not ignore it.  He forcefully complained, 'Some one called me a bastard.'

The Australian captain Bill Woodfull registered the seriousness of this comment.  Slowly he turned to his team, pointed to Jardine and loudly asked, “Which one of you bastards, called this bastard, a bastard?”
Test match quality.
FB asks why do all these examples involve Australians?

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